Good morning. This article is an on-site version of our FirstFT newsletter. Sign up to our Asia, Europe/Africa or Americas edition to get it sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning
Any hopes of an end-of-year Santa rally look likely to be dashed as investor optimism about China’s reopening plans is countered by worries about the specific impact on some of the market’s biggest companies.
Beijing’s decision to scrap inbound quarantine requirements gave a general boost to shares yesterday, particularly in China. But individual stocks, including Tesla and Apple (whose shares finished 1.4 per cent lower) were hit by concerns over disruptions to their China manufacturing operations amid a soaring number of Covid-19 cases.
The S&P 500 clawed back some early losses to close 0.4 per cent lower while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index ended off 1.4 per cent.
In the US, a so-called Santa rally denotes gains over the last five days of trading in one year and the first two of the new year. Returns over that period average 1.3 per cent compared with 0.2 per cent for any rolling seven-day trading period.
Three more stories in the news
1. US airline passengers hit by more chaos The after-effects of the deadly blizzard that swept across the country over the Christmas period are still being felt. According to the flight tracking site FlightAware, more than 3,000 US flights had been cancelled by last night, while more than 6,000 had been delayed. The majority of axed flights were operated by Southwest Airlines, which said it would operate just one-third of its flight schedule “for the next several days”.
2. Whitmer ringleader is sentenced Adam Fox, co-leader of a plot to abduct Michigan’s Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison. The sentence is the longest so far of anyone convicted of the plot, which took place in 2020, but less than the life term sought by prosecutors, who had described Fox as a threat to democracy. The government had claimed that Fox was the “driving force” behind the plan to kidnap Whitmer from her home, as well as blow up a bridge to distract police and provoke a civil war ahead of the presidential election. (More from Reuters)
3. JPMorgan bankers try to lure away Morgan Stanley’s clients JPMorgan Chase’s army of private bankers is reportedly trying to convince its rich clients to move billions of dollars from Morgan Stanley’s tax strategy funds on to the bank’s own platform.
What else we’re reading
Brazil faces economic headwinds as Lula prepares to take office As Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva prepares to take office on January 1, he faces a darkening economic outlook. Lula won the Brazilian presidency by promising voters that the good times of “steak and beer” would return to Latin America’s largest country. But, as Bryan Harris explains, the outlook is nowhere near as rosy as he might have hoped.
Race is on to develop new generation of weight-loss drugs Changing attitudes, surging demand and tight supply for a new class of obesity drugs has sparked a race among several of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies to develop rival medications for a market projected to be worth $50bn in annual revenues by the end of the decade. More than four in 10 American adults are clinically obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Is a game-changer on the way?
Eurozone economy set to shrink in 2023 High inflation and potential energy shortages are likely to drag down output and trigger a reversal in the fortunes of the labour market, according to a Financial Times poll of economists. Almost 90 per cent of the 37 economists surveyed by the FT thought the single currency zone was already in recession and the majority forecast a contraction in gross domestic product over the whole of next year.
Most popular FT opinion story: ‘It’s time to admit that hybrid isn’t working’
As the year reaches its close, we are sharing some of our most-read stories across different sections of the FT. Today we highlight our most read opinion story.
Early in the year, private sector polls showed that a majority of employees wanted to keep working from home, at least part of the time. But Camilla Cavendish asked, what if it is not actually that good for us, or those we work for?
Take a break from the news
Who are the FT’s crossword compilers? Our band of setters are a breed few know much about. Below, compiler James Brydon shares a little bit about himself.
Walk us through your compiling strategy: I always start with trying to find good clues for long answers, preferably avoiding anagrams as they are the easiest kind of clues to construct. At first, I look for good ideas: misdirection, striking images, funny ideas, etc. Then, as a believer that crosswords are not simply a riddle but have technical and aesthetic qualities as well, I will spend time polishing the clues, aiming for accuracy, elegance and succinctness.
Any advice for solvers? A crossword is like a garden path sentence, so the trick for solving is to isolate individual words in the clue and work out how their meanings might be different from how they appear in the surface reading.
The clue you wished you had written: Where to start? I like this one from Arachne in The Guardian: “Two idiots stripped Mini’s bumpers off” (9). Read on to find out the answer. And try out the FT’s latest crossword puzzles here.
Thank you for reading and remember you can add FirstFT to myFT. You can also elect to receive a FirstFT push notification every morning on the app. Send your recommendations and feedback to [email protected]
Recommended newsletters for you
Asset Management — Find out the inside story on the movers and shakers behind a multitrillion dollar industry. Sign up here
The Week Ahead — Start every week with a preview of what’s on the agenda. Sign up here